Have you ever visited a restaurant and consulted Google or Yelp to learn more about a specific dish before ordering? Or, have you looked up user-generated reviews in a retail setting before making a purchase? You aren’t alone. In fact, a 2016 survey found that 84 percent of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation. What’s more, 74 percent of consumers say that positive reviews make them trust a local business and 58 percent say that “star ratings” are most important when selecting businesses.
We live in a world in which digital technology guides purchasing decisions. Just as technology drives awareness and builds consumer confidence in your service and product, it also facilitates self-discovery. Who doesn’t love the convenience of ordering their burrito or coffee on a touchscreen? Most consumers welcome the concept of learning more about products in-store with a digital kiosk.
Forward-thinking touchscreen devices have already begun to revolutionize the way consumers dine and shop. So, in the spirit of innovation, we turn to an equally progressive piece of hardware: interactive tables. This technology engages audiences from every angle on dynamic surfaces. And it has the ability to encourage consumers to explore brands on a whole new level.
As interactivity makes its way across numerous consumer-facing industries, it comes as no surprise that this table technology has entered retail, hospitality, entertainment, and food service industries. Here are three brands that are successfully utilizing this innovative technology.
1. Sagaya & TeamLab
From fine dining establishments to casual chains, interactive table restaurants have made waves in the industry over the past several years. For example, Sagaya, an interactive restaurant in Tokyo, Japan teamed up with Japanese art collective TeamLab in 2017 to create a multisensory “smart dining experience” that evolves as diners eat. When dishes are served, diners are greeted with digital projections of blooming flowers, butterflies, and birds. Sensors and projectors detect and react to movement, so the sizes and shapes of the images vary based on which dishes diners order and how they choose to interact with them.
Intel, creators of the first commercial microprocessor chip and one of the world’s leading technology companies, turned to interactive table technology to interface with a younger generation of consumers. Together with Horizon Display and DCI Marketing, the company leveraged custom, interactive tables to create a shop-in-shop experience in 50 Best Buy stores across America.
The table technology enabled guests to experience a hands-on exploration of Intel’s latest technology, including 3D printing, augmented reality, and a traditional product gallery. This in-store campaign was not only a prime example of the evolution of interactive experiences, it also displayed the development of hardware, as it utilized a new class of durable touch technology capable of handling high-traffic situations.
3. Neiman Marcus
While the logistics of interactive tables in restaurants may be a step or two from mainstream integration (spilled drinks and technology aren’t the best combination), technology in retail is much easier to implement. Consider Neiman Marcus, the designer retailer that launched an interactive retail project in 2015. The tables—which leveraged Ultra HD 4K touchscreen technology on a single, continuous pane of glass—were displayed in three major stores and enabled shoppers to browse up-to-date inventory, including collections that were both in-store and online. The technology guided consumers’ shopping experiences and provided insight and access to products that extended beyond traditional customer service.
The Future of Interactive Table Restaurants and Retail Experiences
Interactive touchscreens can provide increased value and convenience for the customer and increased sales for the retailer at every step of the buyer’s journey. From facilitating the search for information, to helping customers shop around, to improving the experience at the point of sale, interactive technology has already proven to facilitate the buying process. Interactive technology is already changing the retail industry—among others, businesses are confident it will continue to grow in popularity across food service, entertainment, and other industries.
Ultimately, interactive technology has visually stimulating, engaging elements that make customers curious. As we’ve seen, this technology can be enough to make a customer choose one store, product, or experience over another. As interactivity evolves, we can only hypothesize about the possible implications. Until then, we’re eagerly waiting to visually customize our pizzas on interactive tables.